is an Arts and Cultural Educator, Event Planner, International Concert Artist, Entrepreneur, Music Conductor, Lecturer, and City Commissioner. She has served as Supervisor of Cultural Services for the City of Newark, a Corporate Executive and an International Cultural Representative for the United States.
Ms. Moten’s distinguished performing and vocal training career spans from Broadway performer to college instructor, from concert artist to choral trainer throughout the United States and five continents. She is an accomplished producer, music copyist and transcriber. Her company, Theatre World Music Service, formerly based in New York City, produced music for orchestras, Broadway shows, concert and recording artists worldwide. Today, concert productions, arts and music curricula development, artist representations, event planning and production define her company’s successful ventures. Theatre World Music Service assisted in developing and structuring the first International World Peace Tour, a series of international high-profile-artist concerts and educational programs.
Ms. Moten is an invited representative at the United Nation’s Department of Public Information / Non-Governmental Organizations. In September 2007, she worked with the Networking sub-committee in planning the 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference at the United Nations. More than 2,000 Non-Governmental Organization representatives and other civil society partners from more than 90 countries gathered to discuss ways and means for strengthening collaboration between local communities and global institutions. For this conference, Ms. Moten helped to develop a Webcasting program on Climate Change and How It Impacts the Global Community.
Ms. Moten was the choral conductor at the Riverside Church in New York City for the commemorative service for the late Pulitzer Prize winner David Halberstam. She was the guest performing artists for the 2007 New York Board of Regents Dinner honoring Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
As head of Cultural Services for the City of Newark, Ms. Moten has initiated and produced many new programs and events such as the Newark Family Arts Day, Let’s Celebrate Newark Festival, Summer Arts and Music Camps, Winter Arts and Music Workshops, The Jazz Elders Honoring Program, The Newark Blues Festival, The Newark Citizens Awards, The Newark Jazz Connection, and the African American and Latino Heritage–With-The-Schools programs which brings together more than 2,000 students to participate in interactive cultural activities. Great speakers like Julian Bond, Kweisi Mfume, and Yolanda King and performers like Abby Lincoln, Piqueto D’Rivera, Jon Hendricks, Max Roach, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Winston, Jon Faddis, The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, and Newark’s own Rhoda Scott and James Moody have come to Newark under Ms. Moten’s administered city-sponsored cultural programs. The venues for her programs have included large and small theatres / auditoriums, churches and synagogues, night clubs, restaurant settings, and outdoor festivals that have singularly garnered more than 22,000 spectators.
The first city-wide children’s cultural arts education program was developed and implemented by Ms. Moten in 2005. In 2008, Ms. Moten created the highly successful The Cotillion Program. Held at Essex County College, The Cotillion Program is the first city sponsored co-educational course in life skills, social education and character development for Newark youth. This program received a national recognition award from Harvard University and John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The United States Information Agency, under President William Jefferson Clinton, appointed Ms. Moten the U.S. ‘American Cultural Specialist’ and assigned her as cultural liaison in Africa. She received an unprecedented second appointment to the Botswana Music Camp near Gaborone, Botswana. She was also an invited visiting lecturer in the Republic of South Africa and featured artist for the Voice of America’s international broadcast ”Music Time in Africa”.
Ms. Moten’s travels included historic nuclear disarmament tours to East Berlin, Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall and invitational lecture-discussions in the Republic of South Africa during apartheid. Numerous governmental commendations from The White House to international Heads-of-State throughout Africa, Japan, and Belgium have been bestowed upon her.
Ms. Moten was the choral instructor and director of the Newark Boys Chorus. In that capacity she conducted the boys in performances throughout the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, and Czechoslovakia. Two personal invitations were extended, from President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush, to Ms. Moten to present the Newark Boys Chorus in concerts at The White House.
On September 11, 2007 Ms. Moten conducted commemorative concerts at the World Trade Center and at the New York Historical Society. Ms. Moten trained and conducted the seventy-voice Newark Community Concert Choir to perform with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra before an overflow audience at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In 2002 she trained and conducted a 122-voice choir and instrumental ensemble for a state-wide “9/11” memorial service at NJPAC.
Radio commercials were produced and directed by Ms. Moten including the highly successful The Business plan talk show on WNJN-FM Radio in Trenton, New Jersey. Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Eartha Kitt, Debbie Allen, and Gregory Hines are some of the veteran performers with who she has appeared on stage. She worked on the Cosby Show, also. While studying at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, she was the only matriculating student invited, since its founding in 1884, to serve as an instructor. Her television career began with the ground-breaking television special titled “Evenings with Gwen Moten”, produced by the Public Broadcasting System, as a certified teacher in elementary, middle, and secondary education, her innovative teaching techniques were acknowledged and hailed by associate teachers, supervisors and administrators. Additional higher education teaching residences have been with the Borough of Manhattan College in New York City and Essex County College in West Caldwell and Newark, New Jersey.
In 2004 Ms. Moten was appointed executive director of the Newark Performing Arts Corporation which is the managing agency for the 80 year old Newark Symphony Hall complex. Within eighteen months, the decaying, under-administrated performing art center was completely reorganized to establish management, fiscal oversight, and physical plant controls. Community, state, and national coalitions were established and additional arts programming and funding were increased. New marketing efforts, professional staff development, and cost-effective ten year financial and budget plans were initiated.
A city-wide children’s cultural arts education program was developed and implemented by Ms. Moten in 2005. This innovative program is for ‘at risk’ inner city youth and provides academic instruction in the fine and performing arts. The curriculum is designed to enhance the lives of participants through comprehensive strategies that use visual and performing arts to speak creativity, reinforce academic learning and refine acceptable social behaviors.
Some of Ms. Moten’s community involvement is evidenced in her work with the area churches. She is the former Minister of Music and organist at St. James A.M.E. Church and Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey and St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Montclair, New Jersey. She was the instructor in vocal and choral training and guest conductor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark. In service to her community, Ms. Moten has volunteered in numerous activities including board member of the Newark Arts Council and the Trilogy Opera Company and former advisor to the Smithsonian Institute affiliate Museum of African American Music.
Because of her dedication and outstanding contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy Association to fight against muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular diseases, Ms. Moten was given the distinguished honor of opening NASDAQ in New York City.
Ms. Moten is the former artistic director/conductor of the North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club, the oldest continuously singing all-male ensemble in the Mid-Atlantic States.
Ms. Moten was honored and named ‘A Living Legend’ in the City of Newark and serves as City Commissioner on the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.
In May 2007 Ms. Moten was audio-interviewed by the executive director of the New Jersey Historical Society to include her life story in the StoryCorps Griot Initiative. This project, to collect oral histories from African Americans, will preserve her history for future generations at the American Folklore Center at the Library of Congress and at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Recently appointed, Ms. Moten is serving on the Newark Park Projects Committee and will oversee and consult on cultural, artistic, recreation and ecological design and new development for each city park.
Several network and cable television interviews and documentaries such as NJ History Makers, The Morning Show, New Jersey Woman, and Defying Age have featured her accomplishments. Her life experiences and career are expressed in her one-woman show “From Birmingham To Botswana.”